Culinary Definitions

A BLANC : A term used to describe foods that are cooked or partially cooked but not browned.

AL DENTE : An Italian term applied in cooking pastas (also with vegetables) that means firm to the bite and yet tender.

BAKE : To cook using dry heat, as in an oven.

BARBECUE : To slow-roast over coals, or under free flame or oven electric unit, usually basting with seasoned sauce like barbecue sauce.

BARD : To bard means covering a piece of meat, poultry, or a large fish with thin slices of bacon or salt or fresh pork tied with string before it. Example, Bacon-wrapped Meat Loaf.

BASTE : To moisten meat or other foods while cooking also adding flavor and to prevent it from drying. The mixture for basting are usually melted fat, meat drippings, fruit juices or sauce.

BLANCH : To plunge into a boiling liquid and cook 10 to 20 percent of doneness. This is done also to remove the outer covering or skins from nuts, fruits, and some vegetables.

BOIL : To cook in water or liquid under a boiling point or reaches the point when a boiling liquid is in turmoil; its surface is agitated and rolling.

BRAISE : To cook with a small amount of liquid in a covered container in a low temperature to produce a thick sauce. Examples are adobo, mechado, etc.

BREAD : To coat the surface of a food with flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs before cooking or frying.

BROIL : To cook with heat from above like the broiler.

CHOP : To divide into small pieces with a knife or other sharp tool.

COAT : To cover surfaces of an item with another substance.

COOK : To bring about change in a food product by applying heat over a period of time, usually to make the food more edible.

CUBE : A cube-shaped cut ½ to 1 inch. To cube is to cut into cubes.

CUT : To divide food materials with a knife or scissors in any desired shape.

DICE : A cube-shaped cut but smaller than the cube at about ¼ inch.

(1) To briefly plunge bite-size foods in a liquid mixture.
(2) An informal appetizer made with softened cheese, sour cream, mashed avocado, bean puree, or a food of similar consistency flavored to complement crisp, bite-size foods that are literally dipped into the product.

DREDGE : To sprinkle or coat lightly with flour, cornmeal, or ground almonds.

DRIZZLE : To pour liquid into thin streams to have a thread like effect.

DUST : To sprinkle a fine substance such as sugar or flour gently on a surface.

FINE DICE : A cube-shaped cut 1/8 inch in size.

FINISH - COOK : To bring a partially cooked food to doneness, usually just before service.

FOLD : To stir gently to combine.

GRATE : To shred food into small pieces with the use of a grater.

GRILL : To cook on a grate with heat from below. The term is also used loosely for cooking on a fry-top range.

GRIND : To reduce to particles by cutting, crushing, or grinding.

HULL : To remove the outer covering from fruits, nuts or seeds.

JULIENNE : To cut meat or vegetables into thin stick-shaped pieces (1/8 x 1/8 x 1½ -2 inches).

MASH : To crush, beat or squeeze food into a soft state by using a fork or a masher.

MATCH CUT : A long thin cut, ¼ x ¼ x 3 inches.

MINCE : To cut into very fine pieces using a knife, food grinder, blender or food processor.

PARBOIL : To simmer in liquid or fat until approximately 50 percent done.

PARE : To cut off the outside covering. Applied to potatoes, apples, etc.

PEEL : To strip of the outer covering. Applied to oranges, grapefruit, etc.

POACH : To cook submerged in liquid at temperatures of roughly 160° to 180º F (71º - 82º C). A liquid at these temperatures has bubbles on the bottom of the pan but is undisturbed.

PUREE : To mash a cooked product to a fine pulp, usually by forcing it through a sieve or putting it into a blender.

REDUCE : To boil or simmer a liquid until it reaches a smaller volume through evaporation. A liquid so reduced has a greater concentration of flavor. If it contains starch it becomes thicker.

ROAST : To cook by heated air, usually in an enclosed space such as an oven or barbecue pit, but also on a revolving spit before an open fire. Roasting nearly always refers to meats.

SCALD : To bring just to boiling, usually for milk. Also to rinse with boiling water.

SCORE : To make shallow or deep cuts in a decorative pattern with the point or a knife. Food such as a whole fish is often scored so that it will cook evenly.

SEAL OR SEAR : To expose the surface of meat to extreme heat in a hot pan or oven for the purpose of browning before cooking at a lower temperature; a partial-cooking process and by so doing enhance the flavor.

SHRED : To cut into very fine strips or pieces.

SIFT : To shake through a fine sieve.

SIMMER : To cook submerged in liquid just below a boil, at temperature upwards of 180°F (82°C). A simmering liquid has bubbles floating slowly from the bottom, and the surface is fairly quiet.

SINGE : To scorch something. Usually done to remove the last pesky pinfeathers of fowl being readied for cooking.

SLICE : A cross cut 1/8 to 3/8 inch thick. To slice is to cut into even slices, usually across the grain.

SMOKE : To preserve food by exposing to smoke. Smoked salmon is an example.

SNIP : To cut food (chives for example) into small uniform lengths using kitchen shears or a small pair of scissors.

SOUSE : To cover food, particularly fish, in wine vinegar and spices and cook slowly, the food is cooled in the same liquid. Sousing gives food a pickled flavor.

STRAIN: To separate liquids from solids by passing through a sieve or cheesecloth.

STRIPS : Cut into long, narrow pieces.

WATER BATH : A term used primarily in canning. Jars of food are placed in a rack inside a large pan. Enough boiling water is poured into the large pan to cover the jars. The pan is covered and the filled jars are cooked the recommended amount of time with the water boiling.

WEDGE : A wedge-shaped cut of food, usually a section of a round or oval product such as an apple or lemon.

WHIP : To beat air into a liquid to lighten and expand the volume of the liquid.  Usually done to eggs or cream.

ZEST : The outer layer of the peel of a citrus fruit.  It contains the essential oils of the fruit and can add a lot of flavor.
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